It was with dismay that I picked up my “Independent” last week to see on the front page that South Australia must “populate or perish”. Proponents of population increase generally have a vested interest and of course those associated with the building industry would clearly come into that category.
The world is overpopulated. Australia is overpopulated. South Australia is overpopulated. The evidence is all around us. With the population we now have there is degradation of the biophysical environment as we exploit it for inputs into the economy and as a dump for our wastes, with habitat destruction, loss of species, soil degradation, global warming.
Hickinbotham asserts that the River Murray, a dying river that struggles to reach the sea, can supply additional water for a larger population!
For sure there is plenty of room for improvement in the efficiency with which we use resources such as water, energy and space. But we should not squander those improvements on a bigger population. We should use them to sustain and indeed improve the environment and quality of life that the present population now enjoys.
We should aim for quality not quantity. We need to be clever in what we do and how we do it and this does not require a larger population.